A collection of Sufi aphorisms
By Shaykh Ibn 'Ata'illah al-Iskandari
Translated by Victor Danner
Muslim religious life not only consists of belief in orthodox tenets of faith and a determined effort to follow the Sacred Law, it also requires one to scale the heights of the spiritual path. The Kitab al-Hikam of Shaykh Ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari is the inspiring explanation of the soul’s journey through this life, as determined through the Qur’an and Sunna. Along with his treatises and intimate discourses (munajat), the substantive feature of the work is the author’s 264 spiritual aphorisms (hikam)—concise, comprehensive and sublime sayings on self purification (tazkiya), and guidelines to help strengthen the relationship between humans and their Lord. These aphorisms, which have never failed to inspire, are presented in this edition according to the systematic arrangement of the great Indian scholar Shaykh ‘Ali Muttaqi (d. 975/1567), together with the indispensable commentary of the twentieth-century sage Shaykh ‘Abdullah Gangohi.
“Sometimes you encounter works which just make you re-evaluate your whole connection to Allah Most High. They make you realise the faqr (poverty) of your affair, and your distance from that which you thought you were close. Glorified is Allah. The Kitab al-Hikam is one such text. It has been serving wayfarers throughout the ages, in their quest to know their Most Majestic Lord.”
—Gavin N. Picken, Ph.D., American University of Sharjah, UAE